Hundreds of people gathered at the home of Lt Colonel Niranjan Kumar in Kerala's Palakkad on Tuesday morning to bid farewell to the National Security Guard officer, who died on Sunday while defusing a grenade after terrorists attacked an air force base in Pathankot. The 34-year-old martyr's funeral was held today.
Senior officers of the NSG saluted the officer and paid glowing tribute. Maj General M Chandy, an NSG Inspector General told NDTV about how well Lt Col Kumar trained his men and always led from the front.
"We are here to salute this brave Martyr. I remember Lt Col Niranjan Kumar for three qualities. He was a man who knew no fear and was exceptionally brave. He topped his bomb disposal course in NSG and was selected for training in the U.S. He was a brilliant mind and always led by example. Even during the Sunday counter terrorism operations as a Lt Col. It's a big loss to me and NSG." Maj General M Chandy told NDTV.
An Army engineer, the officer was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the elite NSG a few months ago.
He is survived by his father 67-year-old EK Shivarajan, his wife Dr KG Radhika, a dentist, and a two-year-old daughter. Radha Sivarajan, who was a mother to Lt Col Niranjan Kumar since the age of three, sat in silence and with parched throat as tributes poured in.
"My son always wanted to join the army since his childhood... I am very proud that he has done his job well," said Mr Sivarajan, who is a retired BEML official. As a child, the officer's family said, Niranjan loved to wear the Army uniform.
Mr Sivarajan, 67, first brought his son's body wrapped in the Indian Tricolour to Bengaluru, where the family has lived for many years, and then to home town Palakkad. "We need peace... Let's not go for violence and horrible things," Mr Sivarajan said.
The NSG commando was among seven security personnel killed in the terrorist attack at the Pathankot air base, where combing operations are now on.
Five terrorists have been killed in the military operations.